Foster Care

Definition - What does Foster Care mean?

Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for children who are having difficulty with their parents and cannot remain safely at home. State processes may vary, but generally a department, such as the Department of Social Services, will remove children from their home and will place them in a licensed foster home or group care facility that can best meet their needs. Then they will work with their parents to improve the home to the point that the child can be returned to their parents. In some cases the home cannot be improved to a safe level, and the state will seek to terminate the parent's parental rights and move to have the child adopted.

Children who enter the foster care system range in age from birth to 18 years old. Many children who enter the foster care system have unique strengths and needs. According to the DSS, "Some children are experiencing a variety of social, emotional, and behavioral or physical difficulties because of abuse and/or neglect."

The foster care system is always looking for special foster parents who will have the ability to help foster children while they are in the system. Foster parents can be relatives of the children or non-relatives. Foster families are required to provide a variety of services to foster children including daily care and guidance, assistance with medical and educational needs, transportation to school and medical visits, and appropriate and reasonable discipline. Compensation is also given for the support of foster children, which can vary by state and by the special needs of the child which is taken into foster care.

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